York RAG week has been an unprecedented success this year, raising in excess of £16,000 for charities such as York Nightstop, Survive, Teenage Cancer Trust and the Make a Wish Foundation. This makes it by far the most successful RAG week on record, beating the previous year’s RAG week by more than £12,500.
RAG at York has come under fire in recent years for under-performance in comparison with equivalent groups at Durham, Exeter and Bath, all of which have a similar number of students to York.
Durham’s RAG equivalent raised a total of £232,000 last year, while the University of Bath’s RAG events raised £56,000. Exeter’s RAG is estimated to raise £60,000 every year. Kate Jefferies, YUSU RAG President, claims that these figures are not comparable. “Different universities run RAGs in different ways,” she explains. “Lots of universities around the country do street collections. Street collections make a lot of money… we spend more time focusing on our beneficiaries, putting on events, that sort of thing.” Ben Griffiths, YUSU Charities and Developments Officer, estimates that “if we included every single society… if it was all charity work on campus, you’d be looking at about £75,000 [per year].”
Many university RAG committes make a large amount of money on ‘raids’, where students go to a city centre and make collections. In the past, York hasn’t done as many raids as events, but Griffiths claims that this year York has “already raised a considerable amount on raids compared to previous years… we are building raids back up.” Jefferies concurs, saying “we’ve started to focus on [raids]” and agrees that there is a definite upturn in the figures.
Jefferies comments that York RAG’s fundraising is “looking extremely healthy this year”, saying “we’ve about tripled on last year already.” Both the Blagathon and the RAG Parade broke all previous University of York records for fundraising, both making in excess of £3,000. These successes helped drive the RAG week totals far beyond expectations.
When asked about their hopes for the rest of the year, Kate Jefferies and Colin Hindson, YUSU communications and societies officers, estimate that “fundraising by student groups within the SU will raise more than £100,000 this year.”